Equality for Women in Reform Jewish Professional Life


From its inception, the Reform Movement has been committed to equality between men and women. Our movement has consistently supported the advancement of women in the work force and women's rights in general. The insight and idealism of the movement led it to blaze a trail for equality with its ordination of women almost two decades ago. In 1983 the UAHC resolved "To examine its practices and call upon the UAHC and individual congregations to eliminate any sex discrimination and apply the principle of economic equity for all." However, the ideals of our movement have yet to be fully realized. A recent survey of salaries in the rabbinate showed that in every congregational category in which women are serving as rabbis, they are being paid significantly less than men. Other data strongly indicate that similar disparities exist for cantors, administrators, and other synagogue professionals.

THEREFORE, the Union of American Hebrew Congregations resolves to:

  1. Call upon all UAHC congregations to actively uphold the policy of non-discrimination based on gender in all employment practices, including hiring and promoting rabbis, cantors, educators, administrators, social workers and other professionals.
  2. Urge all UAHC congregations to compensate such professionals justly regardless of gender. Those congregations now served by women are asked to examine any conscious or unconscious gender discrimination in their compensation practices. Where any injustice surfaces, however inadvertent, we call upon the congregation to consider immediately and voluntarily raising compensation, even before the finish of present contractual periods.
  3. Work in cooperation with the Central Conference of American Rabbis and Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion through the Joint Commission on Placement to create workshops and disseminate educational programs on the congregational, regional, and national levels on "Women in the Rabbinate," specifically focusing on issues of just and fair treatment of rabbis irrespective of gender. Similarly, work in cooperation with the other appropriate professional associations and bodies to take these actions with respect to cantors, educators, administrators, social workers and other professionals.
  4. Call upon the leaders of the Central Conference of American Rabbis, Union of American Hebrew Congregations, and Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion and the other appropriate professional organizations to address the problems outlined in this resolution, to develop mechanisms to monitor the progress of our movement toward full equality, to assure effective educational and consciousness-raising efforts in all parts of the movement, and to take steps necessary to combat all forms of discrimination in the professions of Reform Judaism.